HomeHealth Topics A to ZWhat Causes Red and Tender Nail Folds?
Health Topics

What Causes Red and Tender Nail Folds?

By DuPage Medical Group Dermatology

Acute paronychia is the term used to describe a sudden inflammation of the nail folds surrounding either a fingernail or toenail. This condition usually results from an infection caused by staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, or pseudomonas bacteria. The most common symptoms associated with acute paronychia include a sudden onset of redness and tenderness to usually one side of a nail fold. Pus may or may not be visible within the nail fold. Usually, only one nail is affected at a time.

The most common causes of acute paronychia include trauma or manipulation of the nail fold resulting from manicures, hang nail removal, or nail biting. Some cases may occur spontaneously with no obvious cause. If you experience symptoms of a red and tender nail fold we encourage you to make an appointment for evaluation. Treatment may include obtaining a bacterial culture of the area and topical or oral antibiotic treatment depending on the severity. In more severe cases, a minor surgical procedure called an “incision and drainage” can be performed in the office to relieve pain and reduce swelling.



Topics and Subtopics: Skin Health

Learn more about:
Receive more health tips and DMG news right in your inbox!
Sign up for the Live Life Well newsletter